Chicago has played tourist destination to many folks over the years, and to kick off 2022, our great city had the honor to host Michael and Basia Newman, the massive social media influencers behind ‘JerseyStyle’ who also appeared on the recent hit FOX television program, “MasterChef: Legends” with Gordon Ramsay.
While in town, the two who live by the mindset of “Love + Positivity = Success” caught up with us to chat about bringing JerseyStyle to ChicagoStyle, and what exciting things they have planned for themselves and their followers for the year ahead.
1. How was your time in town? What brought you here?
This was our first time traveling to Chicago, believe it or not. We have talked about it numerous times in the past and just never made it happen. We had an absolutely amazing time while we were in town. The food, the people, the relaxed and laid back atmosphere compared to what we are used to in New York City, it was like no other city we have experienced before. Plus, how clean it was, that is a true testament to a city that cares about its people and its image.
So it would be needless to say that we would love to travel back and be able to enjoy the city when we are completely free of any work duties. With all that being said, we always know that work comes before play, but when it’s time to play, we like to play hard!
As for what brought us to the city of Chicago, well, that was a whimsical and unpredictable story. We were discussing going into NYC for the holidays as we like to do often, then we mentioned traveling to Chicago instead. We had no plans until we received a call from a major production company about working on our own tv pilot. Once we received that call, we were all in. We had work to do which justified our trip, and then we got to enjoy your beautiful city and even be able to do this interview with you featuring our time in Chicago and our LifeStyle brand, JerseyStyle.
2. What were some of your favorite places to go see / eat at?
One of the most obvious places we went to visit would be millennial park, where we got to see the City of Chicago Christmas tree, the infamous Chicago Bean, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, all of which were beautiful representations of a miraculous city.
We ate at lots of amazing places, of course indulging in our first ever deep dish Chicago style pizza. The funny part of this story is that on the first night we were there, we just happened to enter a pizza restaurant called Robert’s Pizza Dough Company at 465 N McClurg Ct., and this was a place that we would have expected to find deep dish. Yet to our surprise, it was some of the best thin-crust sourdough pizza we have ever had, even compared to the unofficial pizza capital of the world, NEW JERSEY!
We also indulged ourselves at a place called Timothy O’Toole’s Pub Chicago that boasted some of the best Irish fare east of the Mississippi!
3. How does Chicago compare to New Jersey?
Very interesting question you have presented to us here. See, New Jersey is the center of the metropolitan area. We live one hour from Philadelphia, one hour to Atlantic City, and not to mention only 45 minutes to NYC! Another main difference is the pace. In New Jersey/New York, we move so fast. We are not rude as some seem to think because of our pace; we just move fast because if you don’t, you will be lost in the hustle and bustle of the big city.
The one thing we didn’t mention about New Jersey is the BEACH. I (Michael) grew up only 4 blocks to the ocean, so the beach life has always been a part of who I am. Both cities have their own unique qualities, and we would be honored to travel back to Chicago for a little more of the mid-western hospitality we experienced.
4. Will we see a ChicagoStyle spin-off of your brand in the future? What would that involve, do you think?
We loved Chicago so much that is definitely a consideration we have discussed. As nothing can truly be JerseyStyle, we never say no to the possibilities of expanding our brand. There is no reason that every city in every state couldn’t have their own brand of STYLE…. NewYorkStyle, ChicagoStyle, MiamiStyle, LAStyle, etc., so yes, we would love to take our brand and regionalize it in the very near future!
5. What projects are you currently working on for the new year ahead?
The projects that we are currently working on for the New Year ahead include private cooking events either online or through a private dining experience being that Michael has a passion for cooking. We will also be hosting various self-love workshops and seminars. We are also working on writing a lifestyle book, which will encompass all the genres that our brand offers. This is going to be a unique, one of a kind read that you will not want to put down. We have been presented an opportunity to be featured in a cooking show that already has a pilot developed with the talks of our own lifestyle based show in the works.
6. After experiencing our city, would you come back?
YES, YES, YES! So after experiencing all (or as much as we were able to fit into our trip) of your beautiful city of Chicago, WE WOULD ABSOLUTELY RETURN.